Building a Better Bay Area in Fremont
As part of ABC 7’s series, Building a Better Bay Area, Fremont was selected as the first individual City to be covered, recognizing that our community is succeeding in building solutions for challenges facing the entire Bay Area. Throughout the week of November 18th, ABC 7 headed to Fremont in order to shine a spotlight on our diverse community, booming advanced manufacturing industry, efforts around housing and transportation, and hidden gems of Fremont from the local restaurants to noteworthy sights.
We kicked off the week-long news series with a public, live Town Hall on November 18 at Washington Hospital with three panels: Building Better Living, Building Better Business, and Building Better Community.
Moderated by ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze and Contributor Phil Matier, the conversation centered on Fremont’s business ecosystem, housing, transportation, and overall quality of life. I was honored to sit on all three panels with Councilmember Raj Salwan (Vice Mayor at time of Town Hall on November 18) as we were joined by a rotation of notable City staff, business leaders, and faith leaders such as Captain Sean Washington, Economic Development Director Christina Briggs, Community Development Director Dan Schoenholz, Washington Hospital CEO Kimberly Hartz, Boehringer Ingelheim CEO Jens Vogel, and Pastor Jeffery Spencer.
I genuinely enjoyed and learned from the dialogue that took place at the town hall that featured such a rich, representative cross section of the Fremont community. In order to have a greater understanding of the people we serve, it’s important for us to listen to community input when we are making decisions that impact the everyday lives of Fremont residents.
These three town hall panels served as springboards into deeper stories that were aired throughout the week around the strategic and creative solutions that are being implemented in Fremont.
Building Better Living
Due to Fremont’s central location between job opportunities and more affordable housing in the Tri-Valley, Contra Costa County, and Central Valley, traffic has become a leading concern for our residents.
ABC7 Reporter Lyanne Melendez reported on the various innovative ways that Fremont City staff are deterring commuters from cutting through residential streets, such as partnering with Google Maps and Waze, working with the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley to analyze traffic congestion patterns, and programming red lights for longer and placing no-turn on red signs at key intersections.
Additionally, ABC7 reported on Fremont’s housing solutions, including the placement of the future Temporary Housing Navigation Center behind City Hall in a well-resourced area and partnerships with community organizations like Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley and Abode Services which are building low-income housing such as Central Commons and Laguna Commons for families in need.
Doing nothing is simply not an option for Fremont. We need many compassionate and able hands to come alongside the City and be a part of the solution.
Finally, Fremont Community Development Director Dan Schoenholz sat down with ABC7 to talk about our City’s plans to be strategically urban as adopted in Fremont’s General Plan (in December 2011), honing in on new housing being developed near public transit options such as our Warm Springs/South Fremont BART station.
Building Better Business
We’re very proud of the way our City works closely with the businesses in our ecosystem to allow their companies to flourish and grow. One of our greatest strengths is in building public-private partnerships to leverage Fremont businesses’ technology in our own community.
Economic Development Director Christina Briggs expanded on Fremont’s partnerships with our business community to ABC7 contributor Amanda del Castillo. One prominent example highlighted in the conversation was the City’s work with Gridscape Solutions, a local clean technology firm specializing in microgrids, which led to the building of three microgrids at Fremont fire stations to establish power resiliency in the case of an emergency or natural disaster.
It’s no secret that Fremont is known as the capital for advanced manufacturing and is actively training the future workforce to fill the many new manufacturing jobs opening up in the Bay Area.
ABC7’s Liz Kreutz looked at one of the ways the workforce pipeline is being developed at Ohlone College. Ohlone is a local community college that offers a two-year smart manufacturing certification program to remove barriers and build the right skills for future engineering technicians and technologists.
The City also understands that both employees and residents are looking for amenities that are currently being offered and further developed in some of Fremont’s key neighborhood business districts. ABC7 showcased local restaurants and business that give Fremont its flair and flavor including Shinry Lamian and De Afghanan.
Building Better Community
Fremont has a long rich history, starting with its founding in 1956 when five small townships came together to form one 92-square-mile city. Today, the Centerville, Irvington, Niles, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs districts each have their own distinct charm . Our City is cultivating a central Fremont identity while also honoring our past.
An initiative that is very close to my own heart is building our downtown from the ground up.
It’s vital for a city to have a central gathering place that provides the opportunity for people to have more community interactions and access to dynamic services. We are thrilled that our new downtown is tangibly taking shape with the development of our main street, Capitol Avenue, as well as the new downtown event center and plaza that just broke ground in late October.
Another key component to a happy, well-balanced community is keeping the city safe. Fremont Police Department (FPD) has that covered, supplying our officers with the technology and civic engagement training they need to do their jobs well.
In the Department’s crime-fighting tool kit, you’ll find drones, a database of community-registered homes and apartments with security cameras installed, and the nation’s first deployable, fully equipped electric (Tesla) patrol vehicle. In addition, FPD has upped its recruiting game with an eye-catching recruitment site, designed for tech-savvy millennials.
Finally, what really makes Fremont great are the people that live here. ABC7 profiled our diverse community by showcasing our City’s youngest residents, homegrown talent like Kristi Yamaguchi, cultural gathering places such as Sun Bollywood, and proudly made Fremont their home.
To read and watch all of ABC7’s original reporting on Building a Better Bay Area: Focus on Fremont, visit https://abc7news.com/community-events/building-a-better-bay-area-fremont/5684825/.
*Please note there are third-party advertisements (no affiliation with the City of Fremont) embedded in each ABC7 video link listed in this blog.